Primoz Roglic of Slovenia destroyed the opposition to claim Olympic road cycling time trial gold on Wednesday, a few weeks after abandoning the Tour de France in the wake of a crash.
Roglic, 31, was unstoppable in the second half of the hilly 44.2-kilometre course near Mount Fuji to win by more than one minute ahead of his Dutch Jumbo Visma team-mate Tom Dumoulin and former world champion Rohan Dennis of Australia.
The women’s race over half the distance saw a win as emphatic, with Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten allowed to really celebrate this time around when she added gold to road race silver almost one minute clear of Marlen Reusser of Switzerland and a second Dutch rider, Anna van der Breggen, taking bronze.
It was a full set of Olympic medals on the day for the proud cycling nation Netherlands.
Roglic won the Spanish Vuelta in 2019 and 2020 and was a Tour de France runner-up as well last year but had a season to forget until Wednesday, having abandoned the Tour after week one after suffering multiple bruises in a third-stage crash.
He said he would concentrate on the Olympics, and after being no factor in Saturday’s road race delivered in emphatic fashion in the time trial.
Just eight seconds ahead of Dumoulin at the halfway mark on the Fuji Speedway he was unstoppable on the second lap to win by 1 minute 1.39 seconds with 55:04.19 minutes.
Dumoulin took several months off cycling this year before returning in June, got silver just as 2016 in Rio, and Evans was another 2.51 seconds back for bronze.
“For me, it was just nothing to lose. I went on block from the start and I just fight for every place,” Roglic said.
“It was just giving 150 per cent, really everything, everything and at the end I was just super happy that I finally was finished, I was over the finish line and then the rest tell me how fast I was.”
Belgian road race silver medallist Wout van Aert had to settle for sixth, behind world champion Filippo Ganna of Italy, and former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas placed 12th.
Van Vleuten could celebrate Wednesday after wrongly believing she had won the road race on Sunday, unaware that Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer had finished ahead of her and taken the gold.
Van Vleuten clocked 30:13.49 to win a massive 56.47 seconds ahead of silver medallist Reusser of Switzerland, with van der Breggen more than a minute back to take bronze.
“This has nothing to do with Sunday. I closed myself from social media, and the message I took home from the road race was that I was in my best possible shape,” van Vleuten insisted.
“The 21 kilometres passed by like one second, you’re in the flow. I was not thinking about the pain in my legs, I was just pushing, I did everything.